Brazil's Rousseff vetoes social-welfare item in budget bill

Brasilia, Jan 1 (EFE).- President Dilma Rousseff signed a 2016 budget bill but vetoed more than 40 items, including one that would have raised individual disbursements to beneficiaries of Brazil's flagship Bolsa Familia anti-poverty program.

Congress passed the budget bill last month and Rousseff signed it into law on Thursday, according to Brazil's official gazette.

The text approved by lawmakers would have raised stipends under the program in line with accumulated inflation between May 2014 and December 2015.

But Rousseff vetoed the item because the increase would have jeopardized the viability of the program, which provides cash payouts to the poorest Brazilians.

"Had it been authorized, the proposed readjustment, because it was not compatible with overall spending limits, would have necessarily meant a reduction in beneficiaries of the 'Bolsa Familia' program," the government added.

Rousseff also vetoed a provision in the budget bill that would have prohibited Brazilian state development bank BNDES from providing or renewing loans to fund investment projects abroad.

The president decided that a ban would have hindered Brazilian companies' ability to compete internationally.

Brazil last year posted its first primary budget deficit since 1997 and in 2015 the recession-hit country continued to struggle to get its fiscal house in order.